It’s been 1 month since I have been here. I can’t believe time has gone by so fast!
Things have been improving. The heat isn’t so monstrous anymore although I still can’t go any where without my UV umbrella or water bottle. The territory is looking more familiar and I’m getting better at telling the drivers where the Kingdom Hall or bible studies are.
I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again: I love the food here! It’s like an 'Indian-Caribbean' style. Since the population is almost half Indian (Hindu) and half African descent, the two cooking styles intermix and create their own which is unique and delicious! And since the country is considered to be part of the Caribbean, many spices are used in cooking. Yum!
Shemeniel, the local sister who is living with me, is a good cook and has been teaching some Guyanese dishes. My favorite is Chana which is the local name for chickpeas. They are cooked till they’re soft, mixed with garlic, onions and a handful of different spices and it’s AMAZING! Rice is very popular and is served with every meal. Curry is also very popular and it’s cooked in a variety of different ways. So far I’ve had eggplant (as known as ‘ba-lan-gi’) & chicken curry, fish curry and duck curry. My favorite was the duck curry which was cooked by Shemeniel’s parents (the duck came from my their backyard!).
Learning to shop at the market has also been fun. The local market is Rosehall Market and they have everything! Since most of the vendors sell at the same price, you look for the better quality of the vegetables, fruits, meats, etc. Everything is fresh.
There are no designated bus or taxi stops, if you want a bus or taxi you wait on the side of the road and put your arm out to pick you up. Taxis are mostly for short trips and buses are for longer trips. Rides are emotional roller coasters. Some driver’s are heavy on the gas pedal. Even though there are speed limits, driver’s choose their own speed. I’ve only been on a couple buses where I am actually scared for my life. The good thing is you can tell the driver to slow down, and he will, at least until you get off. But rather than telling the driver where you want off, you tell the bus “Conductor.” He is in charge of collecting the fare, looking out for passengers for pick up and telling the driver where to stop to let people off, and of course ... the music. Music volume varies from bus to bus.
The music is a sort of R’n’B mixed with Reggae. It’s definitely got an “island” feel. Most songs are Guyana originals but sometimes you come across a Guyanese remake of a popular American song or an American artist original. I’ve heard a Guyana remake of Michael Buble’s “Home” it was a really good remake, I'm keeping my eyes open for a copy of it.
There is always something to do but the pace of life is very relaxed here. I have busy service days but I never feel rushed or overwhelmed. I just feel productive. Here’s what my week looks like: Monday is cleaning, laundry and family worship, Tuesday I conduct 4 studies, Wednesday Shemeniel conducts 4 studies, Thursday I conduct another 2 studies and then meeting at 5:00pm, Friday is market day, Saturday is door-to-door and RVs and finally Sunday is meeting at 10:00am and Shemeniel conducts a study afterwards. I feel tired when I get home but it’s a very satisfying sort of tired. I know, and feel, that I did something meaningful and that it makes Jehovah happy, which in turn makes me feel good about myself. It’s a win-win for everyone!
The most recent experience of this was with Marie. A mother of 2 teenagers and of Hindu background. She is one of the studies that Lara gave me. Her challenge is that she doesn’t read (...yet, we are working on this as well) but she is quick to grasp points. About 2 weeks ago, we were studying the chapter in the BT about who rules this world. Before starting I asked her who she thought ruled the world, she said “God.” She said that she recently had this conversation with her husband who didn’t believe that God ruled the world. So as we started our discussion on the chapter, we read about Satan offering Jesus the kingdoms of the world. I then asked her if she could give me something that didn’t belong to her, she said no. So, I asked, “If Satan was offering these kingdoms to Jesus, who did they belong to Satan or Jehovah?” She said “Satan,” then we read some of the scriptures that say who the ruler (or god) of the world is. Then I asked her about the sort of behavior we see in people today, she said “It’s all bad attitude.” Then I said “So if Satan was offering Jesus the kingdoms of the world and we read that the bible calls Satan the “ruler” and “god” of this world and we see all the suffering, who then is ruling the world, Jehovah or Satan?” I could see Marie putting the puzzle together in her head and she finally says “Satan!” Her reaction was so funny we all laughed about it and then she says “Oh no, that means I have to tell my husband he was right!” Not only was it a funny experience but it was very gratifying to be able to teach her a bible truth and see her reaction. It’s unlike any feeling I’ve ever had.
I posted a photo of the house but in case anyone is curious it is a 2 bedroom, 1 bathroom. It’s hardwood floors throughout the house. Big windows. There’s a balcony where the hammock and washer are. Mike and Lara put a lot of work in to improving it. It was unoccupied for at least a year before they moved in so you can imagine how bad it was.
There is a sister from England coming next Friday. She’ll be here for the next 5 weeks and she’ll be staying with Shemeniel and me. Then in December there are 2 sisters from Pennsylvania coming for 3 months. So that’s 3 new need greaters in the next 2 months! Besides me there is a need greater couple from England (Chris & Naomi Hayes) and a missionary couple from Canada (Todd & Barbara Hollenbeck). There are also 2 sisters from England (Loraine & Sarah Giles, mom & daughter) and 1 sister from America (Amy Norbaum) who are in sign language. We all meet together.
We have the Annual Pioneer Meeting and Circuit Assembly coming up so I hope to have more photos and experiences to share. I miss you all and I hope you are doing well.
P.S. I've added more pictures to the photo album. Just click on the link above to view them. Enjoy!